What better way to round off a gut-bustingly enormous (vegan) roast dinner with all the trimmings, than a huge slice of boozy steamed fruit pudding with lashings of custard
or and brandy ‘butter’? Why do we do it?! Well, because it’s a great British tradition of course, and Christmas dinner just wouldn’t be the same without it.
‘Stir Up Sunday’ is fast approaching, and if this is your first vegan Christmas and you thought you might miss out on all the fun – no need! This vegan pudding is every bit as rich, moist and Christmassy as the non-vegan original version – I bet you won’t be able to tell the difference.
For my American readers who are probably totally baffled by now, this pudding is a very traditional part of a British Christmas meal. Stir Up Sunday is the last Sunday before Advent, and the day on which these puddings are made, with each family member taking a turn to stir the mixture whilst making a wish for the year ahead. What will yours be?!
And the traditions continue on the big day itself… the pudding should be brought to the table in flames, which is done by pouring over warmed brandy, then setting a match to it. (Please be careful!!).
A silver coin is traditionally baked into the pudding, and whoever finds it will have good luck for the following year. In my family, to avoid arguments, we wrap up lots of coins in silver foil (health and safety, you know), and poke them in to the pudding at the last minute. These are usually 1p or 2p coins, perhaps the occasional 50p, (except for my lovely Uncle Ron who would always come to Christmas Dinner with a crisp £50 note tucked up his sleeve, then pretend to ‘find’ it in his Christmas pudding every single year to the astonishment of us little ones, until we cottoned on many years later!).
Christmas Pudding is actually very easy to vegan-ise, as the fat content is suet, and vegetable suet is almost always vegan anyway. As a sponge that’s steamed for hours on end, the texture is moist and fairly dense, so replacing the egg is a doddle – you could probably just leave it out of any standard recipe, but I’ve just added a bit of soya yoghurt here to be on the safe side. My starting point for this recipe was Felicity Cloake’s ‘Perfect Christmas Pudding‘ for the Guardian, but I’ve vegan-ised it and fiddled about with the quantities a little to my taste.
Serve with vegan custard, (the ready-made soya stuff it totally delicious, or make your own with nut milk and custard powder), or brandy ‘butter’, made with dairy-free block margarine. What do you serve with yours?
- 350 g mixed fruit (I used a 'luxury' version with cherries and mixed peel included in it)
- 140 ml sherry (check it is vegan)
- 120 g soft light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 60 g self-raising flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 60 g fresh breadcrumbs
- zest of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 orange
- 120 g vegetable suet
- 40 g walnuts, roughly chopped
- 60 ml soya milk
- 1 1/2 tbsp soya yoghurt (plain)
- 1 tbsp black treacle
- 120 ml stout (check it is vegan)
Soak the fruit in the sherry overnight.
Mix the sugar, spice, flour, baking powder, salt, breadcrumbs, zest, suet and nuts in a large bowl.
In a jug, whisk together the soya milk, soya yoghurt, black treacle and stout. Pour this into the dry ingredients and mix well until fully combined.
Grease a 1.1 litre (2 pint) pudding bowl generously, and tip in the pudding mixture - it should come about three quarters of the way up the basin - don't overfill it or this will cause problems later on! Cut out a circle of baking parchment or greaseproof paper and place this over the pudding mixture.
Either put the lid on your pudding basin, or else wrap it in two layers of foil, pleating it at the top to allow for expansion and steam. Seal it tightly so that water can't get in to your pudding during steaming. Steam the pudding for 4 hours - either in a steamer, or place a jam jar lid in the bottom of a saucepan, then fill the saucepan with water until it is two thirds up the side of the pudding basin. Keep checking water levels as it cooks, you don't want it to boil dry.
When the pudding is cooked, leave it to cool, then wrap tightly in foil and store in a cool place until Christmas. For a boozy pudding, feed it regularly with brandy or sherry.
Steam for 1.5 hours, as described above.
To serve alight, warm 3-4 tbsp brandy in a small jug the microwave. Just before bringing to the table, pour the brandy over the pudding then light with a match.
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I’m linking this recipe with CookBlogShare hosted this week by Hijacked by Twins